Vatican official attacks U.S. Democrats as “party of death”

By Reuters Staff
October 1, 2008

Senator Joe Biden with Catholic priest Zhang Depu near Beijing, 10 Aug 2001/poolVatican officials seldom single out political leaders who differ with the Church on issues like abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research. But now that the Vatican’s highest court is led by an American, the former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, we can expect things to get more explicit in Vatican City — at least when when it comes to U.S. politics.

Burke, who was named prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature in June, told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire that the U.S. Democratic Party risked “transforming itself definitively into a party of death for its decisions on bioethical issues.” He then attacked two of the party’s most high profile Catholics — vice presidential candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — for misrepresenting Church teaching on abortion.

He said Biden and Pelosi, “while presenting themselves as good Catholics, have presented Church doctrine on abortion in a false and tendentious way.”

Nancy Pelosi kisses Pope Benedict’s ring during his U.S. visit, 16 April 2008/Larry DowningPelosi drew U.S. bishops’ scorn for saying in a television interview last month that the Church itself had long debated when human life begins. Biden is a practicing Catholic who also supports abortion rights and analysts have said he could help woo wavering Catholics into Obama’s fold. Both argue that they cannot impose their religious views on others.

Burke said pro-life Democrats were “rare” and that it saddened him that the party that helped “our immigrant parents and grandparents” prosper in America had changed so much over the years.

Burke made headlines as archbishop of St. Louis for his public attacks on public figures who strayed from Catholic teaching. He suggested during the 2004 presidential campaign that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Catholic, should be denied communion because of his views on abortion. Several bishops said at the time they would not give him communion and the media staked out churches where he attended Mass to see if he received it.

“Lately, I’ve noticed that other bishops are coming to this position,” Burke told Avvenire, which is owned by the Italian bishops’ conference.

Archbishop Raymond Burke/Archdiocese of St. LouisCardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote a letter in 2004 to American bishops restating the Church position that a priest must refuse to distribute communion to a Catholic politician who supported abortion rights. But Burke lamented that the letter was never distributed.

Burke’s criticism isn’t limited to Democrats. Last year, he accused singer Sheryl Crow of being “a high profile proponent of the destruction of innocent lives” for defending a woman’s right to have an abortion and for being a proponent of stem cell research. He resigned as head of a children’s medical charity that featured the singer for a benefit concert.

Pope Benedict has been encouraging Catholic bishops to speak out more openly on public policy issues to make the Church’s voice heard. Any bets on when we’ll hear from Burke next?


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Yeah, and the Catholic Church is the sanctuary of pedophiles.

Where does that get us?

Posted by Tina Perkins | Report as abusive

So you think that Republican foreign policy makes it right to stick a knife into a baby’s neck or to salt poison a baby?

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

I appreciate the Catholic Church standing up for the poor and helpless of this world. Good for you. I am not a catholic and when my youngest daughter was entering the 4th grade of the local public school and I saw the propaganda written on the blackboard by the home classroom teacher, I took her out of the pathetic public school and put her in a great catholic grade school in Portland Oregon – St. Claire’s and later into Valley Catholic High School where she received a fabulous education. Thank You Very Much. WWTerry

Posted by WW Terry | Report as abusive

Joe Biden and Nancy Petosi should leave the catholic church. In San Francisco there is a church more to their thinking. It’s The Church of Satan. Caio! WWTerry

Posted by WW Terry | Report as abusive


Posted by CHARLES BLATNER | Report as abusive


Posted by Kuntt Licquore | Report as abusive

if you are catholic, you do not support the death penalty or abortion. i suggest you find another religon if you intend to vote for either.

Posted by reason | Report as abusive

Dear Vatican,

Can you PLEASE, PLEASE get father Michael Pfleger be defrocked? He is a shame of the Catholic church.

Posted by A Woman for Palin | Report as abusive

Vatican – if we don’t abort them, will you promise not to rape them?

Posted by KS | Report as abusive

Democrats = party of suppression, racism, socialism, elitism. Dixiecrats won’t vote for Obama so no matter what the polls say McCain will be president. Not that there is a whole lot of difference between the two.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

well there have now been over 50 MILLION abortions is the USA, including 15 MILLION blacks.

i would not want to be ted kennedy facing death if there is a fainal judgment.

all the other phony cafeteria cayholics are in trouble. pelosi, biden, durbin and all the rest

Posted by deroy | Report as abusive

Michael Cecil

It ain’t about Iran so get back on your knees your not finished till I say your finished

Barrack Hussein Obama

Posted by Henry Poole | Report as abusive

Leftist pigs underestimeate the seriousness and power of those of us who support the nationstate and are willing to fight for it. Push us as you will and see what end awaits you.

Next time, no more Mr. Nice Guy.

Posted by ME | Report as abusive

Individual Catholics may stray from the fold on certain issues. But when they publicly misrepresent Church teachings, they bring scandal and shame on the Holy Catholic Church. If Pelosi is such a good Catholic, she could really use some time in “the box.” In 2000 years, the Catholic Church has never excommunicated anyone. Although many people excommunicate themselves by their actions, they are always welcome home by a forgiving God.

There can be just wars (and I’m not saying Iraq is or isn’t one of them) but there are no just abortions. Ever.

Posted by Kaden | Report as abusive

Reading all these comments, I’m thinking about the cartoon with the sign “Morons on Parade”. Are you over 8 years old? Did you gradz8 3rd grade? Maybe you’ll remember that the statement “separation of Church and State” is NOWHERE in any of our laws. It was discussed in the Federalist Papers when the founding fathers were debating whether to include it in the Constitution (which they never did), which led to the first 10 Amendments (called the Bill of Rights), and the First Amendment guaranteed the Freedom of Religion. Remember any of that? The reason for how this happened in our country goes back to jolly old England, where Henry VIII committed mass murder to declare himself Head of the Church so he could screw around without any criticism. So he invented a warped version of Christianity that suited his own sex life, and then he forced it on the people at the point of the sword. Years later, if you wanted to have any authority in the upper circles in England, you had to join the Church. Here in the colonies, we wanted to cast off all ties with England, and we didn’t like the way the politicians ran the Church. We wanted a Freedom of Religion. And to this day, we want religious leaders to influence the moral debate. So this “wall of separation” is a 1-way thing. We want politicians to leave the Churches alone, but we very much want Churches to speak out on moral issues. As to the tax exempt status of the Catholic Church being revoked for “preaching politics”, note that they aren’t doing this. They are preaching MORALITY, and that is independent of anyone’s political party. As to the Church “forcing it down the throats” of people like Biden or Pelosi, they aren’t doing that either. All churches (and all clubs of any kind for that matter), are composed of people who have something in common and get together to celebrate it as a binding force, as something that makes them “one”. The Catholic Church is a group of people who wrote a Creed of what WE BELIEVE in common, and it has ALWAYS held that abortion is murder. If you think otherwise, you are always free to leave. In the cases of Biden and Pelosi, this Creed was there long before they chose to profess it and thereby join the Church. Today they feel different, so today, they are no longer one of “US”. And that’s all Archbishop Burke said, and he said it because it’s the truth.

Now as to all the comments about views on war, the death penalty, homosexuality, hypocracy, and so on, the old saying goes “what does any of that have to do with the price of tea in China?” When the discussion is about those other subjects, then fine, we’ll address them at that time. But when it is about the Church’s view on abortion, then stick to that. Arbitrarily changing the subject in the middle of a debate is a coward’s way of admitting he’s losing the debate, so like a spoiled child, he throws mud where ever he can. But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s lost the debate. Archbishop Burke was totally right in what he said, and I applaud him for having the guts to stand up to the “Morons on Parade”. He told the truth. And you Morons can’t stand it. I look forward to your turning 9 or even 10 years old (in other words, grow up babies).

Posted by Jim V | Report as abusive

Now lets see why the pot is calling the kettle black…

Rwanda, Spanish inquisition, the second world war agreements with the Nazi regime, the covering up of pedophile priests….oh my…this is a really really long list here….but we get the picture…

How about the Vatican come clean with all of their misdeeds….and PROVE they are what they preach…then maybe we can take their council.

Clean your own house Vatican! Stop worrying about the speck of evil in the Democratic Party’s eye when you have a history of so much corruption.

Posted by V Detta | Report as abusive

Bishops and others officials at Peter’s See: please, go back to molesting children and telling your parishioners not to have sex with their own spouses except on certain days of the month. Maybe you could distract yourself with a scapula, or a cat of nine tails, or some other sort of torture device during this election period. The rest of us will do just fine here in the 21st century without your input. We want our free, secular country to survive the crises created by the last 8 years of nonsense. We came here to this country to get away from people like you. K. Thanks. Bye.

Posted by M | Report as abusive

I’m surprised he didn’t mention Obama, who 4 times voted against giving care to babies that survived abortion, if yo don’t believe this read the truth at

Posted by Tatiana | Report as abusive

Actually none of these politicians have actually been denied communion. Accepting communion means that you follow the Catholic church’s precepts. The Catholic church is a Pro-Life church, the Bishops had every right to speak up when two of their “faithful” mis stated Church teaching. On the whole “How can you be Pro-Life but Pro-War?” thing… No one is Pro-War. War can be a tool to stop violent regimes to stop people from invading other lands, sometimes it doesn’t work out as we’d hope. We don’t go to war to kill as many indiscriminate people as possible… But there is only one reason to go into an abortion clinic. To end a pregnancy… And what does that entail? The very weakest among us deserve better.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

The concern of the Catholic Church is the salvation of souls. It is part of cannon law that any Roman Catholic who participates in any way, encourages, pays for, performs, undergoes, or votes for abortion is automatically excommunicated. If such a an excommicant recieves Holy Communion he commits mortal sin. Archbishop Burke is merely stating longstanding Church teaching. His goal is to bring such people back to the truths of Holy Mother Church. Catholic politicians who support abortion, and those who vote for them are putting their souls in the gravest danger. It is not just Amercian unborn, every year 50,000,000 surgical abortions occur worldwide, most done for purely elective reasons. That does not count the ones killed by abortifacient drugs and devices. This is a crime bigger than any in history. Those who say the Church should not speak about this most monstous bloodbath in the history of the world are fools or cowards. It is exactly the job of the princes of the Church to “suffer the little ones” to be protected. The famed separation of church and state comes from a letter of Jefferson. It applied to the federal government. Let those who think it is just a blob of tissue go to Population Research Institue and read about how our foreign aid helps spread abortions around the world. If you dare,and have the stomach for it, go to the site of Dr. Robert Suengenis where you will find a video of an actual aboriton. The democrats support all of this, it is in their party platform. And now Obama, it turns out, does not support giving medical treament to babies, outside the womb, who have survived abortions. The most dangerous place in the world for an unborn child has now become his mother’s womb. The slaughter is far worse than Mao, Stalin, and Hitler combined,yet the democrats defend it all. If that is not a “party of death” non ever existed. Do we build a better future for ouselves in the blood of innocents? May God forgive us all.

Posted by Lawrence Brown | Report as abusive

Who cares what a bunch of boy-raping psychos think, anyway? Not me.

Posted by Tony | Report as abusive

I am a faithful, practicing Catholic, and I am a Democrat. I support the party despite its position on abortion. Church teaching states that this is an appropriate result of prayerful discernment. A Catholic (like me) can and will vote on the basis of other faith-based issues including care for the poor and sick, opposition to pre-emptive war, opposition to torture, concern for the environment, etc. I believe as a Catholic I can work for an end to abortion in other ways, such as helping those faced with that (currently legal) choice. This is what my prayer has led me to. I vote Obama/Biden.

Posted by Prayerful Voter | Report as abusive

I suppose the VP debate didn’t cover abortion. Biden gets to talk about deaths in Iraq, but Palin has to keep quiet about murders in America?

Again to the Dems – do you think that all your anti-Church propaganda comments “justify” killing babies? Are you trying to say that you keep that policy going just so you can be “as corrupt as the Vatican”?

Nice morality.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

When the pope messes in U.S. political affairs, it is time to recall the Ambassador to the Vatican. United States was founded by persons escaping the religious tyranny in Europe.

Posted by Charles Wilkins | Report as abusive

As one posting suggested, do a Google search for “abortion images”. This alone will speak the truth about this evil to your very soul.

I am adopted. I could have been aborted, but instead was allowed into this world and have had the privilege of helping many people in many ways. I am beside myself to think that selfishness could prompt individuals, claiming to be Catholic, who want to lead our country, allow – and support – the murder of the unborn.

This year I was confirmed as a Catholic. While I always knew deep in my soul that abortion was wrong, I now have the right understanding of why this is so.

The images one will find through a Google search is enough to show you the face of this evil clearly and directly.

Posted by Jill McLean | Report as abusive

It’s interesting that people like Tony who don’t care at all what the Catholic church thinks actually care enough to pronounce here that they don’t care at all. We believe you! Really.

Anyway – that comment aside – I firmly believe that abortion is a choice. The same as murder is a choice. Theft is a choice. Adultery is a choice. There are also consequences and responsibilities involved. Unfortunately, the first on the list has been moved away from a civil rights issue to a political issue. Perhaps that will one day change.

Posted by Amazed | Report as abusive

It is shocks me that his eminence forgets the Democratic party’s opposition to war, the death penalty, pro poor/middle class policies etc when he issues such biased statements. I am a catholic and am glad that there is seperation of church and state. The cardinal should stick to prayer.

Posted by ep | Report as abusive

the dems have always been

the win at any cost party

no conscience

no morals

illegal voter registration

multiple voting

it goes way back to 1960

daley won illinois for kennedy

he won the “dead vote” by 99%

complicit media doesn’t help either

the rest of the world feels like a salmon

going upstream

Posted by the voice of reason | Report as abusive

Totally agree……the Democrats are nothing but closet communists…….they are Anti-American and destroying every fabric of this country. One bought voter at a time.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

The indoctrination process for becoming a liberal is to first define all morality as relative. Next use the historical record of any group that opposes their leftist ideology to destroy it’s credibilty. Of course the dishonesty of this approach is self-evident as every single organization or religion with traditional values has a history with bad chapters. For liberals, their “new” approach has no historical record to compare and so above reproach. But no, there is and it’s practiced in North Korea and Cuba. Old message, new packaging.
So contiue sucking the brains out of babies and calling a choice. If you wouldn’t be any more disturbed by seeing a pic of an aborted baby than you would of seeing one of a removed gall stone, then you could vote Democrat.

Posted by andy tokyo | Report as abusive

Way to go Catholic Church. It’s about time to stand up for the Word of God and speak the truth.

By the way, it’s not an “attack” if it is true.
It is only becomes an attack when the editor of this piece supports abortion on demand, and probably disdains babies and Catholics.
Hate editorship

Abotion is a matter between a woman and her God. I to am a practicing catholic and feel abortion should only be in certain cases.Don’t be fooled the republicians have had a president, congress and supreme court for the last 8 years and haven’t done a thing.They continue to use you.How many republicians have had abortions? The church also teaches us not to steal or kill.How many lives have been lost in Iraq over the republician greed for oil? Wake up!

Posted by Larry | Report as abusive


Posted by JOSE A VAZQUEZ | Report as abusive

It is not a sin if a Catholic believes in his heart of hearts that abortion is not a sin. What is terrible wrong is when an influential Catholic, be it a politician, journalist or an actor, speaks out in support of abortion. His words, his actions in passing laws may indeed enable someone to abort an unborn child. These same Catholics who are in the public eye could just as well say that it is a personal matter and I will not discuss my feelings on the subject.

Posted by Capitalist Pig | Report as abusive

Don’t you people have anything better to do?

Posted by Jeffrey | Report as abusive

This is not good news for Obama…

The Catholic vote is huge and if the Vatican is challenging Biden and Pelosi’s spiritual beliefs, it will trickle down to the Democratic ticket…


Posted by sunny | Report as abusive

When the Republicans bring up going to war, its not to kill the innocent people.
I’m sure most of you know why we go to war, though i’ll still educate you.
Either they (whoever it may be) attack us, or are planning to attack us, or planning to attack an ally. And when we sign a treaty to go to war if our ally does, then we have to. Or we wouldn’t be a Country of our word.
When Democrats bring up abortion, Its about getting a woman’s vote. I doubt they think at all about what they say they’re supporting. And if you don’t follow Catholic doctrine, you should be refused communion.

Posted by Joseph | Report as abusive

Easy for the church of Pedophilia to say.

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive

Is this the same church that receives US government financial subsidies? Those same subsidies stolen from the people of the US without their consent?

Sorry stupid church but your moral platitudes make me sick. You pederasts you…

Posted by Black Pot | Report as abusive

ALL religion is the root of all evil…….

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

It is nothing short of an outrage that the Vatican is meddling in U.S. elections.

It is the Vatican, with the despicable policies it promulgates (and deeds it covers up), that is an institution of misery, death and evil. It is dying an agonizing death, but not nearly quickly enough.

Fortunately, only the weak-minded and stupid pay any attention to these pedophiles, and they vote Republican anyway.

Posted by Filecabinet | Report as abusive

Abortion is about the murdering of INNOCENT life.

The fourteenth amendment reiterates our basic principles: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

What due process has an unborn child had (conversely, this clearly explains how pro-lifers like myself justify the death penalty).

“At the heart of the controversy in these cases are those recurring pregnancies that pose no danger whatsoever to the life or health of the mother but are, nevertheless, unwanted for any one or more of a variety of reasons — convenience, family planning, economics, dislike of children, the embarrassment of illegitimacy, etc. … I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. … As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today; but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court.” — Justice Byron R. White.

Posted by BamBam | Report as abusive

Let’s get this straight… the scariest and wealthiest cult in the world is now calling out democrats? Laughable. Maybe they will get their word across to all those abused alter boys.

Posted by will | Report as abusive

Pelosi and Biden should be excomunicated.

Let me get this straight .Biden and Polosi (not to mention Obama ) are strongly against the Death Sentence for mass murderers in the USA even Child Rapist and their Killers but they are Fore Abortion .
Well that makes sense but only too a Nut and a complete Fool ….. meaning Socialist/Liberals in Politics in this Country .
Oh Yea they also see Morals as there is no Right and Wrong .
That is why Holly Weird is so Leftist and equally stupid .

Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children. (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)

….and this is pro-life?

Posted by A Rogers | Report as abusive

The Civil War was not the answer. Is that your position, Mike? Abortion is never the answer, because no matter how you twist yourself you cannot make it anything but murder; but war sometimes is the only answer to deal with people like Hitler and others who would in fact enslave as many human beings as possible.

Posted by Constance | Report as abusive

Blacks in America have had 9 Million Abortions since President Johnson allowed them to be paid for by Tax Payers in 1964 .
That is more Women and Men than have been Killed in all Wars America has fought in since our Birth as a Nation .Blacks shoud be mad about that but they are not ?

Of course as a Tax Payer I should be happy but I am not .

Capitalist Pig,
In Catholic teaching there is such a thing as “false conscience” that is what you are espousing. You cannot take infanticide and pretend it is OK because somehow you have twisted your thinking to pretend it is a good thing. You can try to talk yourself into these phoney positions but you know in your dark little heart they are wrong, which is why you rail against anyone who speaks to the truth of the matter.

Posted by Constance | Report as abusive

Abortion = Murder. Those who practice, perform or support abortion, therefore, support murder. Politicians and Political Parties… EITHER or ALL… stand guilty. “Pro-Choice” is a white-washed tomb. “Pro-Murder” is more the truth. I commend the Roman Catholic Church for proclaiming simple yet profoud truth. Why have Americans of all political and religious backgrounds become so heartless, cruel and morally blind? A “Sign of the Times” it would appear…

Posted by Steve in Indiana | Report as abusive